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Word Count: 1,126
The focal pattern of pre-Islamic Arabia life was rural Genealogy preserved family clan and tribal purity The livelihood of the Bedouin included raising camel and sheep hunting and escorting caravans through the desert The Bedouin also participated in raids in which settled people were attacked for goods such as camels horses slaves gold and fine fabrics A superior force usually attacked a weaker force in these raids Raiding was instrumental in developing the tradition of skillful weapon handling while the loyalties associated with certain tribal affiliations provided cohesion for generations to come Denny 45 The basic organization of the Bedouin social system started with the family A clan was comprised of numerous families meanwhile several related clans constituted a tribe The head of the clan was the shaykh who acted as a chief and was usually chosen amongst the eldest and wisest men in the clan The religious practices of pre-Islamic Bedouin were idolatrous and polytheist to say the least Different families and tribes worshipped different gods and deities resulting in an unstable religious atmosphere The rise of Islam inspired an urban movement in pre-Islamic Arabia which attacked the Bedouin lifestyle on a religious social and political basis Prior to the prophet hood of Muhammad and advent of Islam religion in Arabia was present in the form of polytheism idolatry and stone worship Many deities were worshipped and even the Kaba was guilty of containing the god Habul and 360 others These divinities were both male and female For example the daughters of Allah al-Uzza al-Lat and Manat Sacrifices were made at various shrines with each community having its own patron deity Pilgrimages were made to these shrines where the deities were circumambulated in the same manner as the Kaba Lastly unusually shaped stones often marked the sites of sacred sanctuaries Over time the Bedouin began to idolize the spirits associated with these stones Denny 53 The message of Muhammad opposed the worship
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